State v. Wright

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-17-2014
  • Case #: A138252
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Wollheim, P.J. for the Court; Schuman, S.J.; & Sercombe, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under State v. Backstrand, and other cases, briefly holding a person’s identification card does not necessarily mean that a person is stopped; rather, a stop can take place when a request for identification is done in conjunction with other police conduct.

The Oregon Supreme Court remanded this case to reconsider the opinion in State v. Wright, 244 Or App 586, 260 P3d 755 (2011), in light of the Supreme Court's opinions in State v. Backstrand, 354 Or 392, 313 P3d 1084 (2013), State v. Highley, 354 Or 459, 313 P3d 1068 (2013), and State v. Anderson, 354 Or 440, 313 P3d 1113 (2013). In the Court of Appeals initial opinion, State v. Wright, 233 Or App 471, 255 P3d 149 (2010), the Court applied a “subjective” test to determine that Defendant was stopped, and thereby reversed and remanded Defendant’s conviction for failure to register as a sex offender because the Court should have granted Defendant’s motion to suppress. The Supreme Court vacated that decision and on remand the Court of Appeals again concluded, but this time under an objective standard, that Defendant's motion to suppress should have been granted. On remand, the Court determined that by applying Backstrand, Highley, and Anderson to these circumstances, the trial court was correct to deny Defendant's motion to supress for the following reasons. In Backstrand, that Court explained: "[e]xplicitly or implicitly, an officer must convey to the person with whom he is dealing, either by word, action, or both, that the person is not free to terminate the encounter or otherwise go about his or her ordinary affairs." In other words, briefly holding a person’s identification card does not necessary mean that the person was stopped. A stop can take place when a request for identification is done in conjunction with other police conduct. In this case, the officer’s request for Defendant to open the car door and hand over his identification as a gesture of goodwill would not lead a reasonable person to believe that Defendant felt that he was unable to terminate the encounter. Therefore, the trial court was correct to deny Defendant’s motion to suppress. Affirmed.

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